Speaker of the House Paul Ryan avoided criticizing former FBI director James Comey in an interview on Sunday.
Asked whether Mr. Comey is a man of integrity, Mr. Ryan responded, “As far as I know.”
“I’ve met him two or three times in two or three briefings,” the speaker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I don’t really know the guy. I’m not trying to be evasive.”
The comments come as Mr. Comey embarks on a book tour to promote “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” an account of his time in the Trump administration.
Among other things, the book claims President Trump is “unethical” and “untethered to truth and institutional values.”
Mr. Ryan said the last thing he wants to do is “join some food fight, some book-selling food fight. I don’t see any value in that.”
The Wisconsin Republican announced last week that he will not seek reelection at the end of his current term in office.
He said Mr. Trump was “disappointed” by his decision to leave, “but he understood.”
“We have a good relationship,” Mr. Ryan said of the president. “We’ve gotten a lot done together.”
Asked if he would bring legislation to the floor protecting special counsel Robert Mueller, Mr. Ryan said, “I don’t think it’s necessary.”
“First of all, I don’t think he should be fired,” he said of Mr. Mueller. “I think he should be left to do his job, and I don’t think they’re really contemplating this. We’ve had plenty of conversations about this. It’s not in the president’s interest to do that. We have a rule of law system. No one is above that rule of law system.”
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